In The Know: State Chamber supports House GOP tax plan

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce said it supports an income tax cut proposal advanced by the Governor and the House.  OK Policy previously explained that the Governor’s tax plan would do little to nothing for the average Oklahoman while taking more than $100 million from core public services.

An editorial in the Oklahoman expressed regret that promising criminal justice reforms, aimed at containing an exploding state prison population, may have fallen victim to ‘law-and-order’ political posturing.  Oklahoma Policy Institute released criminal justice reform recommendations aimed at improving a system in crisis, while maintaining a fiscally responsible state budget. 

House Minority Leader Scott Inman said changes in a proposed overhaul of workers’ compensation were clearly unconstitutional.  NewsOK explained why nullification bills are bad public policy and a waste of time.  Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said he supports a bill that would allow the slaughtering of horses in Oklahoma. 

Gov. Fallin appointed members of a panel dedicated to looking into how Oklahoma can better treat the developmentally disabled.  In today’s Policy Note, CNN explored the precarious employment situations of LGBT workers in Mississippi, a state that ties with Oklahoma for having the fewest protections for LGBT people.  The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahomans aged 50–64 who have no health insurance.

In The News

Conservatives cheer as Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce supports ‘Shannon-Fallin tax cut’

A representative of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce told CapitolBeatOK the group supports an income tax cut proposal advanced from the House to the Senate.  Responding to the news, the state’s leading advocate of income tax reductions said the Chamber’s position is “encouraging and exciting.”

Read more from CapitolBeatOK

Governor Fallin’s tax cut would do little to nothing for the average Oklahoman

So how would this latest proposal affect Oklahomans’ taxes? The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy calculated how repealing the 5.25% rate would affect Oklahomans at different income levels. They found that 43 percent of households would receive no tax cut at all. Among households that did receive a tax cut, the median benefit would be just $39.

Read more from OK Policy

Backsplash: Inertia again bites justice reform plans

Chief Brody sized up the situation and spat out a Hollywood one-liner that’s buoyed many a reference joke over the years: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This was scripted in “Jaws.”  What’s eating Oklahoma today is that “prison reform” has been heavy on the prison and light on the reform. We’re gonna need a bigger jail. 

Read more at NewsOK

Action Items for Oklahoma: Criminal Justice

Oklahoma’s criminal justice system is in a crisis. The state ranks 1st in the nation for incarceration of women per capita and 4th for men. From FY 1996 to FY 2011, the number of inmates in Oklahoma prisons increased by 30 percent, going from 19,968 to 25,977. This increase in prisoners was double the state’s overall population growth over that same period (15 percent).

Read more from OK Policy

Part of workers’ compensation bill has constitutional problems, Oklahoma House Democrats say

Parts of a bill proposing to change Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation court system to an administrative system are “blatantly unconstitutional,” the minority leader of the House of Representatives said Thursday.  If passed in its present form, Senate Bill 1062, which is to be heard by a House committee, would violate the state’s constitution by sending open claims after Nov. 1, 2017, to the district courts of Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, said House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City. These courts do not handle workers’ compensation cases now.

Read more from NewsOK

Nullification bills are waste of public’s time

WHILE the debate over state efforts to nullify federal laws has often focused on Obamacare, both liberal and conservative individuals have promoted nullification.  The Pew Charitable Trusts notes 13 states are openly defying federal drug law by allowing medical marijuana, plus Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug for straight-up recreational use. So liberals who loudly decry Obamacare nullification efforts are silent on this front. Yet if attempts to nullify Obamacare through state action are illegitimate — or even racist, as liberal critics claim — isn’t the same thing true of efforts to negate federal drug law?

Read more from NewsOK

Senate’s Bingman says he supports horse slaughter bill for Oklahoma

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman on Thursday said he supports a measure that would allow the slaughtering of horses in Oklahoma.  Bingman said he expects House Bill 1999 by Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, and Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, to pass the Senate and to “gallop” to the Governor’s Office.

Read more from Tulsa World

Members named to panel reviewing the needs of Oklahoma’s developmentally disabled

Gov. Mary Fallin appointed the 10 members Thursday of a blue-ribbon panel dedicated to looking into how Oklahoma can better treat the developmentally disabled.  Almost 60,000 Oklahomans have an intellectual disability, Fallin said. The state has a waiting list of more than 7,000 people requesting services from the state’s developmental disabilities service division of the Department of Human Services.  The new panel will develop a comprehensive plan to support those with intellectual disabilities and their families, starting with recommendations to address the state’s growing waiting list for services, the governor said. It will also research and analyze best practices for the comprehensive delivery of quality services. 

Read more from NewsOK

Quote of the Day

“There’s just one small problem: You can’t overturn a federal law with a state law. Period.”

The Oklahoman Editorial Board, on the state’s efforts to do just that

Number of the Day

16.6 percent

Percentage of Oklahomans aged 50–64 who have no health insurance, compared to just 11.3 percent nationally

Source:  AARP

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

No one should be fired for being gay

Overshadowed in the national debate about gay rights, however, is this: Federal laws protect workers from being discriminated against because of their sex, race, religion, national origin, age and disability — but not sexual orientation or gender identity.  “The general public thinks it’s broadly illegal to discriminate in the workplace — and it’s not illegal,” said Gary Gates, a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA’s law school.

Read more from CNN

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